The purpose of this master’s thesis is to examine the perceived success factors that brands should take into consideration when utilising inﬂuencers in an eﬀective inﬂuencer marketing strategy. To answer the main problem formulation, three sub-questions were developed. Firstly, we investigated how inﬂuencer marketing is deﬁned. Then, since we argue that the success of a strategy is based on whether the inﬂuencers have the ability to persuade their followers, our next sub-question examined the characteristics that can impact the persuasion of the marketing message. Lastly, we investigated the tools that can assist brands in driving an eﬀective inﬂuencer marketing strategy. To answer the main problem statement, all of the following perspectives have been included: the inﬂuencer, the followers and the brands through inﬂuencer marketing agencies. The analysis has been based on both qualitative data, where interviews and netnography were conducted as well as quantitative data in the form of a questionnaire.
When we deﬁne inﬂuencer marketing, the thesis is based on a theoretical standpoint that incorporates the concepts of opinion leader, word-of-mouth and celebrity endorsement. Inﬂuencers can be deﬁned as opinion leaders who can inﬂuence the consumer’s attitude or buying behaviour towards a brand or product. The fundamental aspect is that the opinion leader is regarded as an independent third-party endorser, which means that the electronic word-of-mouth that they produce is considered organic and authentic. Moreover, inﬂuencer marketing has many similarities to the celebrity endorsement strategy, as both marketing approach similarly uses well-known individuals which other people have a form of aﬃnity towards.
Based on the source eﬀect models, we could conclude that a number of personal attributes like having expertise for a product, being critical to brands by generating negative e-WOM or being identiﬁable to the target audience through frequent exposure, could potentially be contributing factors that could drive an eﬀective inﬂuencer marketing strategy.
With the match-up hypothesis, it was clear that a natural match between the inﬂuencer and the brand is crucial because that can impact the perceived credibility of the collab-oration. Furthermore, it was identiﬁed that congruency could be realised by having a match between the inﬂuencers and the brands underlying values, image and interest but also by engaging in long-term collaboration with the inﬂuencer.
In the thesis, we also concluded that inﬂuencer could create the illusion of an interpersonal relationship with their followers by frequently exposing them to posts that could generate parasocial attachments. Here, parasocial attachments could be created by engaging in parasocial interaction where inﬂuencers e.g. ask followers questions, use personal pronouns, communicate through Instagram Stories, engaging in self-disclosure and encouraging self-disclosure. The close relationship between the inﬂuencer and the followers could to a greater extent make the inﬂuencer more likeable, which could result in the followers being more inclined to listen to their marketing message.
Lastly, based on the analysis and statements of the inﬂuencer marketing agencies, a conceptualised framework could be established. The framework presents a number of operational tools that brands can utilise to realise an eﬀective inﬂuencer marketing strategy.
|Educations||MA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||188|